July 18, 2011

Pie and Conversion

Pie. Last night it was pie.

I had just tucked myself into bed and breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it safely under the covers without eating something "extra" for the day. This is the battle I fight every night--will I make it or won't I? So, I had made it but there was just one little problem. I had forgotten to turn off the kitchen light. Ugh.

I seriously had a debate for about an hour whether or not I would get up and turn it off or leave it on but I knew that I wouldn't sleep well with it on (It is right next to my bedroom and we don't have a door) so I finally did what I knew I had to.  I got up and flipped the switch. Lights out, mission accomplished.

But the magnetic pull of the fridge was irresistible.

I could hear that pie whispering my name. I made it earlier in the week and even though it was sugar-free and fat-free it was still a formidable foe because you see, I don't really eat pie by the slice. I could feel the REAL me leaving the body and the FAT me taking over. "One bite of pie. It'll be okay. There's no way that will show up on the scale." I opened the door, removed the pie and I was lifting up the little aluminum seal all around the edge of the pie when a question popped in my head.

"Why didn't you do this in the beginning?" asked the REAL me. The answer came right to me and stopped me dead in my tracks. I sealed the pie back up, slid it back into the fridge and returned safely to my bed to think this through.

The answer to that question was something I had completely forgotten about. Quite frankly, in the beginning I was afraid of God and what he would do to me if I was disobedient. You may recall that I was dealing with major anxiety and depression when I began to lose weight. (Read all about it here)I think I was a little paranoid too. Basically I always thought I was dying. Anyway...

Once I began losing weight and began working on my relationship with the Lord at the same time I linked those 2 things very closely together, which is okay, but I had the connection all wrong. I thought that if I would obey, then God would help me. And I thought if I didn't obey, he would hurt me (read: allow me to get some terrible disease and die (which is kind of ironic because death is the ultimate gain if you are in Christ).

For example, one day I did something really bad like I had 25 wheat thins instead of the serving size of 13. (I know. Just go with me...) The next day my throat had a huge lump in the back of it, at least that's what it felt like. I thought I had throat cancer. Oops, that's what you get for eating that extra handful of wheat thins, Keelie. (I KNOW!!! Just keep going with me...) Actually, it was just another manifestation of anxiety in my physical body. Anxiety can cause some seriously crazy stuff!

Okay, now I know many reading are probably thinking I am an idiot right now, I would agree. God is not out to get me. The wrath of God that I deserve was absorbed in the person of Jesus Christ on the cross. On the same note, no matter how many times I eat the right amount of wheat thins, do a good deed, read my Bible or go to church, God can not possibly love me any more or less than he already does. I am forgiven. I am justified. Even knowing what a messed up, midnight-pie-eating, kid-screaming, husband-nagging, gossiping, lazy person I would be, Jesus said: "I love you anyway. I will pay the price for you. I will make a way for you to have abundant life on earth and a way for you to experience unending freedom and joy in the presence of God himself. Forever. I forgive you. I want to be friends. I want what's best for you."

I was worth it to him and so are you.

I know that now. I didn't know it then. Obviously that  fear of being struck down by God didn't last long. I think it kept me on the straight and narrow for a few months and I did lose a lot of weight, but eventually that was not enough. Fear can not change us for the better. What changes us for the better is the hope of something better.

Once I got a taste of "something better," this journey quit being so much about the extra wheat thins and more about life and living. It became more about grace. That's what life is supposed to be about. The chains of oppression were lifted when I knew that I could mess up with my eating and still keep going. When I could take my mind off of my problems long enough to see, truly see, someone else and their troubles. When I realized that we are struggling but that we can struggle victoriously. That was me--living for the first time.

I always want to write posts about how obesity kills and how bad life is when health isn't a priority, hoping to scare someone into a better life. That's just my nature. But the truth is, everyone knows that stuff. That isn't what motivates people. Fear does not motivate--it paralyzes. What motivates people are stories of LIFE! True stories of how things can be better. Knowing that it is possible. That is what changes people. That is what makes someone like me want to put up the midnight pie for good, like I did last night.

This post is really long, but there's one more thing.  When I was cleaning the other day, I found a journal entry in a notebook that I had forgotten about. I wrote it at some point over the past year about my spiritual conversion. I think the connection here is just too cool not to share:

A healthy fear of hell doesn't = conversion. True conversion comes when there is a longing for Christ. No where in the Bible does it say "Fear hell and ye shall be saved." That would not require anything from God. Who isn't scared of an eternity of burning? Believing...that is much more difficult. I couldn't do it on my own. I had to ask God to make me willing to love and draw near to him. As has been said before--God is a gentleman and he waits on us. But once the invitation was extended from me, he came. It wasn't when I repeated a prayer that I didn't understand, immediately following an "if you die tonight" sermon. He came when I had exhausted all my other options. I was spiritually, physically and mentally bankrupt. I gave God a small window through which to enter and he filled my soul. I now try to ignore that he is there but it doesn't matter. He continues to change me from the inside out. So I would ask this question: Do you want to spend eternity in hell? but I already know the answer to that. The better question is: Do you want to spend eternity with the Lover of your soul? He is waiting.

SF, FF Mocha Pudding Pie

Reduced Fat Graham Cracker Crust
1 pkg instant sf, ff, chocolate pudding
1 3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. strong brewed coffee, cooled
1 carton Cool Whip Free

Prepare pudding as directed only with the coffee too. Once it is thick, fold in the cool whip. Dump in the pie crust. Enjoy! One slice at a time :)


Deb said...

This is absolutely wonderful...you are so precious! I had to chuckle a little at this part: I now try to ignore that he is there but it doesn't matter. I referred to Him recently to somebody as a "nag"...because He kept right on until He convinced me He was right!! ;-) HOPE you have a great day, sweet Lady!!!

Absolutely, Positively Josie said...

When I realized that God isn't going to save me any more or less based on what *I* do, that was liberty! Even now I struggle with pride when reading the Bible and praying and thinking, "God must love me a little extra for being 'obedient.'" And, while I think obedience is rewarded (according to His will), what mercy for God to give us the realization that He doesn't love us more during our "good times" than He does when we're cheating on Him with our idols.

I admire you and your spiritual journey, Keelie! This blog is a great blessing to me and many others.

Ashley said...

I agree with the above post! I feel so blessed to have found your blog today! You're entries are so encouraging and I can guarantee that I'll be back and reading often! Thanks Keelie!